Friday, June 26, 2009

McBride's Ethics, Or Lack Thereof, Back Into Play

Bruce Murphy, editor of Milwaukee Magazine, came out earlier this week in a strong defense of Jessica McBride's journalistic integrity. Some on the right pounced on that, also coming to her defense.

Today, however, is a new day, and with that comes new developments. Such as Bruce Murphy stepping back from his defense of McBride:

I must regretfully agree with the vociferous objections of some readers. I think I was too defensive in reacting to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story reporting the affair between McBride and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. Worse, I am guilty of the same thing I accused JS reporter Daniel Bice of: I failed to do due diligence regarding the situation.

Specifically, I neglected to demand from McBride all of the e-mails between her and Flynn. I have now done that and was taken aback at what I received. The e-mails do confirm that, other than their one interview in December, McBride and Flynn never met face-to-face until May 1, at their now-infamous encounter at an Irish bar. (In fact, Flynn was using his office e-mail account until then, which suggests neither McBride nor Flynn thought they were doing anything wrong; these are all public records.)

But the e-mails also suggest the two got chatty and friendly – strictly through e-mail, granted, but it’s a lot of e-mail – as soon as McBride finished reporting her story on Jan. 5. I’m also not confident I’ve seen all the e-mail, as McBride couldn’t be sure she hadn’t erased some. That’s all rather disturbing.

But that ain't all, folks. Harris Kane, of Heartland Hollar, has been putting in some time considering a different aspect of this story:
The "official story" from the MJS hasn't been that she was precluded from covering Bucher "once they began dating," but rather that she was precluded from covering Bucher once they "learned" she was dating Bucher.

Here is what the MJS wrote last week, "When editors learned that she was dating Bucher, McBride was precluded by the company's ethics policy from covering stories involving the prosecutor, according to Journal Sentinel Editor Martin Kaiser."

There is a big difference between "once they began dating" and "when editors learned they were dating" unless you believe that McBride told her editors that she had begun dating the married and elected DA of Waukesha County at a time in 1995 when she wasn't covering him. Ya think?
Yet a third angle comes from Mike Mathias, who believes that the paper would be better off by getting an ombudsman.

1 comment:

  1. I personally would like to see emails between McBride and Jeni Reisinger before Reisinger retained Bucher to sue the city of Sheboygan and its former Hispanic mayor just as he was gearing up for re-election.

    Bet those emails would be an interesting read, too.